Movie Review: Orange County (2002)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2002 comedy starring Colin Hanks and Jack Black.

Synopsis: Believing he is a shoe-in, aspiring writer Shaun Brumder applies to Stanford University and no backup choices. As a result, when his high school guidance counselor accidentally sends the wrong transcripts and his application is denied, he, along with his girlfriend and drug-addicted brother must visit the college in an effort to rectify the situation.

Who's In It?


My family and I will be very busy the next few days and, as a result of that, we were trying to get a few things done around the house before hand. However, we ended up getting distracted by some films on our movie channels, including this one.

I've seen this movie before, not too long after it first came out, but I didn't remember too much about it. And, to tell you the truth, I wasn't really sure if it was a movie I liked the first time I saw it. After seeing it again, however, I did think this movie was pretty good.

I think the thing I really like about this film is the way it avoids being predictable. On the surface, Shaun's (Hanks) situation seems hopeless. He was rejected by Stanford. He doesn't have a backup plan and, since he is already past the registration/acceptance deadline, his best efforts are long shot options at best.

On top of that, he faces obstacles from everyone around him, whether it is his alcoholic mother (Catherine O'Hara) or his constantly-high brother (Black). The latter, especially, manages to keep everyone on their toes with everything from embarrassing encounters to arson.

As a result of all of this, it was difficult to guess how the film would end. I didn't know if he would get into Stanford by some sort of miracle, fail in his endeavors or learn from the experience and take a different path completely. This lack of predictability is something many movies in this genre are missing and it definitely made a difference with this comedy.

Orange County

A high school senior dreams of attending Stanford University until his guidance counselor mistakenly spoils his chances.

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Final Opinion

I had some doubts about this film. But, it proved to be much funnier than I was expecting and had a great plot. I would recommend taking the time to watch this film at least once if you haven't seen it before.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 03/26/2017, StevenHelmer
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